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Equifax Reports Increasing Balances And Improving Delinquencies For Auto, Credit Cards

ATLANTA, Sept. 27, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- According to Equifax's (NYSE:EFX) latest National Consumer Credit Trends Report, the total outstanding balances on auto and credit card loans increased year-over-year in August 2013. For bank-issued credit cards, it is the first time in five years that balances increased in two consecutive months, while retail card balances have notched 24 consecutive months of year-over-year growth. The total balance of existing auto loans is at its highest level in more than five-years.

Year-over-year changes in balances August 2012-2013 include:
  • Auto: increased 9.7% (from $760.8 billion to $834.4 billion);
  • Bank credit card: increased 0.2% (from $537.0 billion to $537.8 billion); and
  • Retail credit card: increased 7.0% (from $51.9 billion to $55.9 billion)

In addition, auto and credit card portfolios are the only two major segments in which rising balances accompany improving delinquency rates. Year-over-year changes in the 60-day plus delinquency rates, as a percentage of total balances outstanding, include:
  • Auto: decreased more than 10% (from 1.28% to 1.14%);
  • Bank credit card: decreased more than 13% (from 2.10% to 1.81%); and
  • Retail credit card: decreased 0.9% (from 3.37% to 3.34%)

"Our data consistently indicates that the American consumer is being very disciplined in their use of credit. It's like they've gone on a debt-diet and they are really sticking to it, with modest increases in line with capacity to repay," said Equifax Chief Economist Amy Crews Cutts. "If we exclude student loans, total consumer debt is down 15% from its peak and delinquency rates outside of home loans and student loans are back to pre-recession levels. Economic conditions are causing the lingering high default rates on student loans and mortgages, and hopefully we will see those improve more quickly in coming months."

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